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Another Sign of the Death of Live Music

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Altitude, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Yesterday I returned from a 7 day cruise with my family aboard the Disney cruise ship Fantasy. It was a western Caribbean cruise, with ports of call at Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Disney's own Castaway Cay in the Bahamas - plus a couple of days at sea.

    On the whole, it was an exceptional, if expensive, vacation. There is no better company than Disney when it comes to execution of complex entertainment concepts, and this cruise did not fail to impress.

    On this cruise ship, at any given moment there were musicals to watch, movies to see, dancing to be done, many different bars in which to drink, a 1000 foot pool deck, and at one point an entire island full of people to entertain.

    There were two or three guys-with-guitars-singing-songs here and there. I saw, however, throughout the entire week, not one single bass player, not one single drummer, and not one single keyboardist other than the one playing Disney songs on the piano as we boarded the boat the first day. 100% of the music accompanying the musical productions - of which there were many - was prerecorded. Live music had been all but completely removed from the plan on this cruise.

    I guess I'll say that I sort of get it - bands would be more logistics to handle, more people to pay, instruments to store, and all that. I think it is a change from what we would have seen as recently as 15 years ago, and it's one more piece of evidence that live music is disappearing from the mainsteam entertainment culture.

    I predict that in the next five to fifteen years, live music will follow a path similar to live theater. It will never disappear, it will always be available for those looking for it, and national and global artists will continue to tour. But live music will cease to be a normal or obvious way of enjoying music. The preponderance of what we hear will be prerecorded, since that is a much more effective way to deliver music repeatedly to large audiences with consistent quality.

    It's an unfortunate development for those of us who love to play and are finding fewer and fewer opportunities to do so.

    Let me say again, though - what a fantastic vacation. If you have kids, or maybe even if you don't, think about a Disney cruise. They killed it!
  2. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Don't make predictions, when it comes to entertainment trends.

    It will never work out well.

    At least, that's my prediction.
  3. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I don't know though. You're still talking about cover bands. When rock bands who write originals start showing up to stadium shows with only one guy on guitar and one on keys and voice and the drum and bass and the lead guitar is all prerecorded, then yeah, maybe it'll mean the death of live music.

    That being said...i'm in a duo with my gf (i do all music, she does voices and lyrics)and when we get to playing live we'll have to get people to play the other parts and i'm really really really not looking forward to that. I'm probably gonna stick to bass live because while i can play it, i don't really like to play guitar (it's a stupid instrument..and by that i probably mean I don't play it as well as i'd like. I get away with it on record because of infinite takes) I kinda sorta wish it would be ok to just play bass, have my gf sing and the rest be prerecorded tracks :p. But it isn't. I should probably mention i don't really like people (or at least dealing with them). Neither does she. Ever notice the more people you put into a room the more chances there'll be an argument? It's weird like that.
  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I take your point, and it is a valid point to make. However, just to introduce a grain of salt to the discussion, I would point out that in terms of the "corporatizing" of the entertainment experience, Disney is in a class by itself - and long has been so. Therefore, it might be a bit more of a stretch to extrapolate from a Disney experience than from any other.

    But in terms of totally mass market, lowest common denominator entertainment experience? Yeah, you have a point. :meh:

  5. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I agree with it being a cover vs an original thing.

    My buddy's band played a gig last week in Knoxville and the place was packed (not too dissimilar from the band he and I played in together ;)). People will still gladly go out to see live music; it just has to be music they enjoy and want to go support.
  6. It gets worse - talking about using prerecorded tracks - have you all heard this clip yet?

  7. Garyth

    Garyth Now What ..?

    Sep 9, 2013
    Punta Gorda Florida
    Our group was asked to go out to a new act to help support them on their first night (members also part of our group)

    So, we did. 3 people.
    Bass (ok, nothing special - but he's fantastic on a banjo)
    Singer/rhythm guitar - voice was good, couldn't tell on the guitar - I think it was just something to hold.
    Third guy - electronic gizmo setup that played all the back fill tracks. I do mean all: back up vocals, multiple instruments and lead guitar, etc. I do believe some of the tracks had lead vocals as well that he sang over/with.

    To sum up how they sounded, when they went on break and kicked on some break music ... we couldn't tell. It could have been a jukebox gig for all the difference there was.

    I won't be seeing them again unless I'm bored, go out, and they happen to be there. When I go out to hear live music, I expect live with all the slight variations and differences and, yes, the mistakes that go along with it.
  8. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 on adult cruises live bands are everywhere.
  9. brownie_bass

    brownie_bass [this space for sale, cheap]

    Oct 3, 2013
    New York, NY
    Or you could look at this cruise experience and say "Wow, modern technology has made it so easy to package the sound of full accompaniment in a compact form that cruise ships literally have nonstop live entertainment with actual human singers, instead of the one band playing two sets every night and no one else like they use to have back in the old days."

    Just because there's no live bass guitar doesn't mean it's not live music.
  10. Joebarnes


    Oct 4, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    If that's accurate, WOW; even I could be the next Britney Spears lol. Apparently Milli Vanilli were just ahead of their time.

    That being said, from what I've seen, a lot of "Singers" are going to full backing bands when playing Arenas. I guess it builds the credibility.
  11. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    I have been hearing about the "death of live music" since disco first came out in the mid 70's. I still manage to get 2-3 gigs a week.
  12. kikstand454


    Sep 28, 2012

    Eh..... Britney has never been marketed as a "voice". She's an entertainer. She sings well enough on albums. Barely. I don't see a problem really.... we all know autotune has taken over the pop industry.
    now if this was a clip of say.....Mariah or Adele or someone who's career is built around their VOICE....then I'd be horrified.

    Back to the OP, I'm not sure I'm completely on board with your prediction.....be we all know live shows have been going to DJs and karaoke for years.....
  13. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Sounds like they should be paying the backing vocalists more....a LOT more!
  14. Yep, and it was in the height of her career too.

    It seems the good old days when singers actually sang with musicians really playing are fading away.
  15. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    I am grumbly on this topic. First recent link worth watching:


    Speaking of live music. She gets paid a lot of money to make an investment in producing her concerts. Its Entertainment: She has a band, she dances well to choreography, looks pretty hot, has lights, fog machines, lasers, backup dancers, a stage crew, etc. She is still doing it. Why aren't you?

    I do agree with you that live music is dying. That being said I blame us as musicians.

    What do most of us want to do for a show/ date/ concert/ event... usually as little as possible to insure we get paid. Practice, haul gear, don't stink up the joint, etc. How many of you bring full lights, dancers, swag, dance yourself, play more than one instrument, etc. I only have had one band that brought the full monty to the table, and I was always paid more than $250 a gig. Other than that one band...an exception, I never did. I saw it as too many fingers in the pie and a logistics nightmare.

    I know of more and more bands that are bringing lighting guys that are synching the show to a spectacular light show at every event, even the bars. They transform every venue into an event. They make a bar venue a concert. Its amazing what some burgundy velvet, fog, and lasers do. They are killing it on tour and everytime I talk to the guys they are in the middle of the next greater step.

    I think that the silent disco concept that is for the most part underground is going to shape how we as musicians will adapt to performing live. With the advent of low frequency transducers and wireless headphones. I imagine the venue of the future will have bands that still play live but people listen with headphones in hi-fidelity, featuring a floor that has low frequency transducers (shakes the floor and gives bass response without volume) and or devices like the bass aware a vest with a similar transducer to literally shake your body to bass frequencies.


    It is time for the venue to change and for us as musicians to leave the bars that don't adapt. Isn't it time as consumers to demand more than a craptastic PA and bouncy stage? I think it is.
  16. lweastdad

    lweastdad Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2011
    I'm seeing the same thing on a lot of cruise lines. But on a Holland America my wife and I took, they had a Blues bar that had a full blues band (2 guitar, keys, bass, drums, sax and trumphet) The place was packed every night.
  17. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    Me too.

    Genuine. Authentic. Honest. What a different world it is today in so many ways.
  18. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    This is my experience too.
  19. Octaves


    Jun 22, 2012
    Well, if people enjoy playing, get a day job and then just cover your expenses playing live. I really don't see the big deal. If you make it more affordble for venues, then it should be a win / win situation.

    Professionals exempt of course. There will always be a need for theatre pit work and high level art, eg, high performance music shows.

    The rest of you, get over it and get on with it. Stop complaining: create demand instead. Have you ever thought, if you get out and show people what is so good about live music, then you may just rejuvinate it? Stop expecting everything to come to you, go out and create history!
  20. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Ummm.... gave up on that idea. It is what it is and nobody has been able to change it. This area used to be a hotbed and even had allot of national buzz in the days..today? Dead.
    Live music's grave is being backfilled around here quite quickly :meh:

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